Last semester we worked on a digital dialogue-oriented tool, aiming to help students through the process of group-based project work. To cover the students’ requirements, we asked them about their experiences with this type of work and it became clear, that there was a general consensus on the difficulties on managing the different areas of their lives, while having to deal with other peoples’ views and realities at the same time. At Roskilde University (RUC), where group work is part of the deal, this frustration seems to draw the lines of the whole RUC-experience.
This semester we asked ourselves: why is it so difficult? What are the reasons, that students have such a hard time navigating in their lives, when being a student is only part of their identity? By reusing our qualitative empirical data (three focus groups) from last semester, we now try to understand their experiences and opinions in a broader theoretical context.
First, we looked at our informants’ inputs through sociologist Hartmut Rosas perspective. He helped us understand, that we are living in an accelerating society, where students (and everyone else) are faced with multiple questions, options and choices all the time. Because we accept the logic of acceleration, those choices become more and more, and that explains why we always feel, that we are never reaching our goals. We are simply always on our way on several platforms, and that does not leave much room for reflection or taking the time to create resonance in the slower parts of life.
That is a shame, because essentially, we create meaning, when we take our time to understand each other, says organizational theorist Karl Weick. All these structural views on organizing, really only stems from how we interact with each other. And it is human nature to immediately try to make sense in everything that happens, so to understand what we mean, we must do things first. Therefore, as co-workers and leaders we have to look at and talk about what we do, how we position ourselves and why. We have to be observant of what is actually happening between people before we set out to change or create a process.
In that process, when students are working together, we truly learn, says educational theorist Etienne Wenger. Learning is essentially not one-way communication but also requires social involvement and commitment. As social human beings we are all part of different communities, and in them we create a certain practice where we learn about life and form our identity.
In the end we have found that there is somewhat of a paradox between this need for social involvement, and the way we also want to always be moving forward. It is not surprising that students find it hard to navigate between a structural demand for them to rush through their education, while also having jobs, family, a network of acquaintances and friends and so on. And therefor it is not difficult to understand, that they seek more structure in the process of learning as well. Simply to survey their on-going improvements – even though they may not find that they broaden their perspectives.
Now, Project View is actually trying to give them that overview, while also insisting on dialogue as an essential parameter for teamwork. But in the end, it will not change the structural reality that keeps the students (and others alike) so frustrated with their lack of time.
|Uddannelser||Kommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat|
|Udgivelsesdato||28 maj 2018|